The authors analyzed the case of a patient with a non-cemented hip prosthesis with a ceramic-ceramic coupling. As a consequence of trauma the head fractured. Although the patient could feel the joint grinding, there was no pain and he continued daily living activities for nearly six months, which led to marked wearing of the ceramic head. SEM analysis with microprobe showed “planed” surfaces on the ceramic head, suggesting repeated movements between the fractured components. Inside the cone of the head, signs of TiAlV, which is an alloy of the prosthetic stem, could be seen.
Periprosthetic tissues were packed with ceramic wear particles of sizes ranging between 0.2 and 10 microns, according to the harvest site. Metal and mixed particles were also found.
IL1, IL6, IL8 and IL10 assays in the synovial liquid confirmed the inflammatory state and a modest induction of bone resorption, which was less than that observed in patients with loosened metal-polyethylene couplings. The humoral picture was compatible with the radiological aspect, which did not show marked signs of bone resorption. In revision surgery both ceramic components were replaced by a metal head and polyethylene liner. The clinical outcome after 12 months was very good. (Int J Artif Organs 2006; 29: 800–8)